One of my favorite chases: July 22, 2016 in North Dakota

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I love chasing in North Dakota for many reasons, but I think the predominant one is the landscape. Western North Dakota features the Badlands and passing up a chase there is hard. This day features one of my favorite photograph ever taken:

Late July meant it was getting close to the end of the season for us in the Northern Plains // Prairie Provinces. Decided to give it one last haul to the US and chase in southwest North Dakota on July 22nd.

SPC Day 1 outlook issued at 1300Z

It wasn’t a bad setup by any means, but it wasn’t a tornado setup either. The Storm Prediction Center had an ENHANCED risk out for their Day 1 convective outlook and I headed out early in the morning from Winnipeg, MB.

SUMMARY…AN INCREASE IN THE SVR-TSTM POTENTIAL IS ANTICIPATED WITHIN THE NEXT FEW HOURS. THIS INCLUDES THE RISK FOR LARGE HAIL…SVR WINDS…AND PERHAPS ONE OR TWO TORNADOES. THE ISSUANCE OF A WW WILL LIKELY BE NEEDED PRIOR TO 21Z.

Made it to Bismarck, ND in the early afternoon before storms started firing. This was definitely a “high CAPE day”. Around 5:00 pm, storms began moving north towards my position and crossing the ND/SD line.

No photo description available.

SBCAPE was in the order of 8000 J/kg and MLCAPE in the 7500 J/kg range, with supercell composites very high (see below). I decided to move out of cellphone coverage and move south towards the storm.

Supercell composite at 20Z

As I went south, it was not long before I could see how big this storm was:

Image may contain: cloud, sky, mountain, outdoor and nature

This think was blowing up like we wished all storms did in southern Ontario!! I headed closer to see a base. When I arrived and was able to see the base, it was quite strange-looking and stationary at first.

This storm was likely terrain-influenced and reminded me of a storm you would see in the foothills of Colorado. The storm intensified and became very pretty:

It was at this point that I began getting bombarded by close CG:

The CG’s were so close that they shook the camera from my hands! At least it looks nice for a picture?

The CG’s were becoming too intense so I started retreating back north towards my only east option. On the way, I saw the base develop and the structure mature.

Eventually, I reached my east option where I could take some more pictures. The one featured at the top of this log is from this time frame. The storm eventually became high-based and died off as it encountered a more stable/dry environment, but I got to capture the storm at its best and that’s all that matters!! Not to mention there were no other chasers there that I can recall.



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